Speaking to Inspire at Empowering Anxiety Event

Last night I had an opportunity to speak at Katie Godden’s Anxiety Solutions Workshop at Nemingha.  This empowering event, with 50 attendees, shared strategies to help women manage anxiety and stress.  Courage and confidence to find our own way by prioritising our own wellbeing was the key message delivered.

I shared my personal story when anxiety was crippling my life and when life changes revealed a future that scared me.  After raising my children and now needing a new life purpose, it was scary not knowing what the future will hold.  As women, we do question our position in life, our purpose and knowing who we really are.

When I started to lose that grip on my life, worry set in.  The WHAT IF cycle had hold of me.  As a renowned control freak, I love order and structure.  I was the organiser and the strength to get things done in my family and beyond.  This was proving to be a struggle.

Anxiety used to rule my life.  Anxiety used to control all of my decisions and lack of decisions.  Anxiety doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any time.  We can experience anxiety at different levels, in different ways, sometimes more severe than others.

It is not about the anxiety… it is about… WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.

I made a choice to get help and put myself first.  I was determined to change my life around.  I put strategies in place.  I learned to say NO.  I set boundaries for my family to know what was important to me.

I realised that I cannot be there for anyone else unless I take care of myself first.  I set my own goals for my own future.  This formed part of my mission of personal growth and self-discovery.  Whatever it is that you want in life, you are all capable of achieving it.

I am now able to manage my anxiety and convert it into nervous energy that motivates me.  I listen to my body and mind to know what is best for me and the ones I love.

When you are back in control, the anxiety doesn’t control you.  There is so much self-satisfaction about taking on challenges and no longer worrying excessively.

If somebody told me 6 months ago that I would be public speaking, there is no way I would have believed it.  I feared public speaking all of my life.  Now, it is just another challenge and an opportunity to share my story to inspire others.

All we want in life is to be the best person we can be.  To be at our best, so we can take on life.  When we are at our best, we are happy, really happy.  Everyone deserves to be happy.  That happiness is contagious and will flow through to others.

It was a privilege to be able to speak and inspire other individuals last night on a topic that is rarely spoken about.  I am grateful that those 50 attendees walked away knowing their own worth and have started that inner process of taking back control.  50 beautiful normal everyday women, just wanting the best for themselves and the ones they love.

We all have the capability of being true to ourself, taking care of ourself and accepting that we deserve it.

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Thank you to Katie Godden for putting this empowering program together to help us all change our lives for the better.  And thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak and connect with others.

Also thank you to Nemingha Public School P&C for applying for funding through the Primary Health Network (PHN) to bring awareness and assistance on a very important topic that needs to be spoken about. Anxiety is very common, yet very misunderstood.  This event brought clarity and useful strategies for moving forward.

Take care, Karen.

“You can’t stop the waves,

but you can learn to surf.”

~ John Kabat-Zinn

Rural Reflections #16

Not all stress is bad for us…but an ability to understand our stress triggers, allows us to feel more capable of better managing the stressful situations within our lives.  Time out is my answer to tackling the build-up of the everyday stress overload.

This month is National Stress Awareness Month which is when the health industry professionals aim to increase public awareness about the causes and solutions for our modern stress epidemic.

Usually stress motivates me… to get the job done and then I feel grateful to have achieved another task.  Some stress is necessary to inspire us to make appropriate choices and give us control of our life.  This positive amount of stress, is what propels us to adopt the right attitude in our responses to difficult situations.

But at some point, the burden does become a little heavy and the need to breathe becomes muffled.  The key is to know your triggers and understand your limits.  Being aware of our stress levels enables us to better manage our lives.

We need to understand where these stress triggers are embedded.  Is it work, family, personal relationships or physical health issues?  Identify and evaluate your own stress levels and make the appropriate changes to improve your own wellbeing.

Writing it down is my way… to successfully remove the clutter from my mind and restore order.  If something is worrying you or you have a need to find the positivity in life again… write it down.  It magically gives your mind permission to embrace the restoration process.  It allows you to really breathe deeper and rejuvenate yourself from the inside.

My Journal” is a diary that I have created for this process… to allow you all to find that mental space to inspire your own inner strength.  I have included my personal self-motivating quotes within My Journal to encourage you on this journey.  I provide you with a personal space for your own inner thoughts and to share happiness.

De-stressing tools gives us back control within our lives and an understanding of empowering your own wellbeing.  Everybody is different, so it is important to understand our stress triggers and manage them effectively.

It doesn’t matter what you do to relieve the excess stress and tension… but just do something.  Whether it be writing down your thoughts to relieve your mind from the hardships, taking a walk to appreciate life, exercise activity, deep breathing or meditation, listening to music, or spending time out with loved ones.  Anything to restore your stress management devices.

Today I am sharing this photo with you, from my holiday to Tasmania back in October 2014.  A holiday that my husband and I enjoyed immensely, as we appreciated the rural beauty of our most southern state.  I had taken this photo at Woolmers Estate, where colonial life had been preserved in the buildings and the rural atmosphere maintained.

Rural Reflection #16…

16 Preservation of History at Woolmers Tasmania

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I love this photo as it reflects a quiet peaceful surrounding… under the beautiful trees upon a lush green surface.  I remember feeling at ease, calmness and adoration for the beauty encompassing me.  My Tasmanian holiday was almost 5 years ago… a time that I felt relaxed, stress-free and passionate about the local farming products of Tasmania.

As I reflect upon this truly beautiful place… I look forward to that feeling again one day.  That tranquil feeling as we enjoyed some time out, learned of the Tasmanian history and appreciated a beautiful area within our own nation.

In the meantime, I shall be aware of my stress levels, give myself permission for a little time out and write my thoughts, worries and aspirations in My Journal.

Enjoy some time out today… you deserve it!

Take care, Karen.

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.”

~ Donna Karan

The Heart of CWA in the High Country

After enjoying a High Tea at Guyra yesterday, catching up with some former CWA friends, celebrating with new friends and listening to the powerful inspirational stories of the guest speakers… my soul has been enriched.  The dynamic force that CWA brings to our rural and regional communities is so very compelling.

The largest women’s organisation of Australia, the Country Women’s Association (or CWA for short), never ceases to amaze me through their support network and advocating to improve the lives of women and their families.  The newly formed CWA Guyra Evening Branch has proved to be a friendly, inspirational, youthful-toned and welcoming bunch of ladies.  My good friend and I travelled to Guyra to celebrate NSW Women’s Week in the high country on the Northern Tablelands with these mighty women.

A beautiful old-fashioned High Tea table layout with modern touches, made for a visually appealing morning tea with good friends.  Ceramic teaware just delivers that special something with each tasteful sip and delicious morning tea was in abundance before us.

Laughter, support and fond memories were on the menu at each table.  CWA members from many branches were in attendance from the Northern Tablelands Group and we were welcomed in from outside the zone, representing Tamworth Evening branch, Wanthella Group, along with new friends that were tantalised with what CWA membership can offer them.

We also listened to 2 inspirational guest speakers that delivered life enriching words.  These 2 wonderful women are members of CWA Guyra Evening Branch, and truly are very empowering and uplifting to all of us fortunate listeners.

Firstly, Marni Hietbrink a psychologist from Peak Psychology in Guyra, spoke about mental health in rural areas, healthy emotional wellbeing, happiness and the challenges that stress brings to our lives.  I really liked her analogy about how stress works, as each stressful event forms layers upon us, one on top of another… and how that stress needs to be relieved by doing something essentially in the form of self-care and something that is a passion.  She explained if we don’t look after ourselves that those layers of stress will get to a ‘breaking point’ and tip us over the edge… a place we all need to avoid.

She also explained how, as women, we try to be the best possible person we can in all facets of our lives.  But by trying to be the best at everything, which is really an impossible and unrealistic task… these thoughts and actions cause us to feel an unecessary failure in many aspects of our lives.

Her friendly, bubbly personality… made for an informative and understandable speech that all women could relate to.  Thank you Marni Hietbrink for your knowledge, compassion and meaningful words.  CWA Guyra Evening branch and the Guyra community are very lucky to have such a strong, capable and caring person like you, with such knowledge in the industry.

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The second guest speaker was Kylie Woods, a down-to-earth mother that shared her personal emotional story with us about the trauma with her young son and his eventual diagnosis of ‘Type 1 Diabetes’.  Her comprehensive knowledge of ‘Type 1 Diabetes’, the indiscriminate kind, opened my eyes to an enormous challenge exposed to children and their parents alike.  Her story was emotionally heartfelt which engaged us all with overwhelming compassion for her, her family and all those families that suffer these incredible health and financial challenges for the ongoing management of Type 1 Diabetes.

I really enjoyed her honest open story as she allowed us into her world for these brief moments.  I can already see the need for a CWA Motion being formed for State Conference next year, to support the many people in need with the financial challenges faced every day to manage this incurable disease.

I spoke with Kylie Woods afterwards, a shy, but incredibly strong woman.  I do not think she even realised the extent of the powerful effect her emotionally-charged personal story, had upon the listeners.  She also shared in conversation with me, her 2 business ventures, Glenella White Suffolks (sheep) and Ram’s Head Bats (cricket bats).  She is an avid supporter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Breast Cancer Research.

A truly remarkable woman, a great asset to the CWA Guyra Evening branch and a passion for significant causes worth noting.  Thank you Kylie Woods for sharing your heartfelt family story with us all and giving us a means of understanding Type 1 Diabetes.  Also thank you to your daughter for her assistance with the slideshow.

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My good friend and I really enjoyed our day out at Guyra, the friendly conversation, the delicious morning tea and the inspirational guest speakers.  Personally, my spirits needed a lift, so this day out was perfect as I was surrounded by friendships and optimism.  My soul has been refreshed and I have been reminded of the real value of friendship and support.  Thank you CWA for being the true essence of harmony, delight and support.

Take care, Karen.

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world

cannot be seen or even touched ~

they must be felt with the heart.”

~ Helen Keller

Rural Reflections #10

Drought is draining us all on the land.  Farming has temporarily become a burden rather than a passion.  Our physical ability is feeling strained to keep up with the on-farm tasks and everyday feeding of livestock and carting water for their basic needs.  The financial burden and commitment to pay interest on the increasing debt, upgrading water infrastructure, medical costs and general living expenses has become overwhelming.  The mental anguish torments us within… wondering how we will pay that next feed bill without any income… wondering how we keep strong for our families sake… and still remain sane enough to feel grateful when the community empathises in support with us all.

I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed this morning and finding a way to clear my mind to appreciate farming life once again.  Most probably due to the fact that we are out of tank water again.  Why does that always happen on a weekend and at night-time just when you need a shower?  Getting ready to wash up last night… and then it hits me… I really fall apart when we have no running water.

I am horrible for a moment… I unfairly speak harshly to my husband… why did he not check the tank a few days ago when I asked him.  Then I feel guilty because it is not his fault that the water runs dry right at this very moment.  He has so much to do every single day on the farm… tank water probably was furthest from his mind.

Fortunately, we pack up a few things and drive to my son’s place just so we can have a shower and brush our teeth last night.  Lucky he is very close-by.  It is frustrating when you run out of tank water on the farm.  Short showers are the norm anyway and saving water in buckets as the shower water warms up, has become a habit… every drop is so very precious.  No water to not only cleanse after a hard day’s work on the farm… no water to flush the toilet or wash our hands.  We then revert to a few bottles of drinking water in the fridge… feeling almost wasteful to wash our hands and brush teeth this morning, with our clean drinking water.

Hoping another load of water is delivered very soon and trying to keep sane in the meantime.  I am staying in the office today and avoiding anything outside.  It will be good to catch up on some office work, when I get my head in the right space shortly.  My poor husband will be left once again to feed and water the livestock by himself.  He seems so much more resilient than me.  He doesn’t freak out when we run out of water, unlike me being overcome with anxiety and worry.

So today I would like to share this photo with you… of what I will be avoiding today… the usual drought feeding ritual.  As my husband sets out to feed up and satisfy these hungry cattle in an effort to keep future production on our property… these trusting animals calmly await his arrival.

Rural Reflection #10…

10 Swanvale Kerry Maid P823

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This photo was actually taken in July 2018 when the calves were very young and the mothers struggle a little more to be able to lactate to meet their babies nutritional needs.  Now, this calf has grown up into an 8-month-old calf weaned from its mother, facing life as a replacement heifer in our herd.  A heifer is a young female cow that has not born a calf.  She is a beautiful Hereford calf and her registered name is SWANVALE KERRY MAID P823.  She will grow into a lovely cow one day, producing calves of her very own.

I really like this photo because of the bittersweet image it depicts.  It shows drought feeding which has been an emotional and physically tiring journey, but of significant importance.  But it also shows a beautifully-marked calf with inquisitive trusting eyes.  I also like the little twig of hay protruding from her cute little mouth, quite casually, but looking almost staged.

Despite the stress and hardship farmers suffer in this drought, the reason we keep going is an underlying passion for farming and a commitment to secure the future of the Australian agricultural industry.  It is the trust that the community holds in us all through their support, mateship and empathy… that gives us the strength to persist in a tough industry.  So thank you Australia for your trust and support!

Take care, Karen.

“The support you receive from others throughout life is essential.

It is like the right amount of oxygen to keep the embers of a fire glowing.”

~ Alexander Bentley, Poet

Launching…My Journal ~ Inspiration for Inner Strength

It is now available.  My first heartfelt gift created for family or friends.  I created this unique Journal to inspire the holder to find their own inner strength.  I have used my own self-motivating quotes that inspire passion in life.  I encourage the holder to believe in themselves and give gentle guidance in finding the happiness that is contained within.  It allows a welcoming personal space for one to express their inner thoughts, during their own personal development journey.

I am really proud of this book “My Journal” and the purpose it has been created for.  Writing in a journal provides a means to express yourself, resulting in mental clarity and a personal connection to deep inner thoughts and feelings.

Journals are used worldwide for a variety of reasons.  Some people like to record their daily happenings, celebrate accomplishments, overcome frustrations, break down their goals into actionable events, capture brilliant ideas or divulge in words of wisdom.  For whatever reason one is able to express themselves in words… it becomes a self-healing, self-motivating or restoration of self-control.

For individuals to combat your struggles with daily stress, depression or anxiety… writing in a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health and well-being.  There is no better place to start than right here, right now.

Stress… stress… stress… it is all around us, it is consuming us every day.  An overabundance of stress is damaging to our health… physically, mentally and emotionally.  It has been proven over many years, that journaling is the most widely used and most effective stress management tool.  Writing about stressful events can help you bring mental clarity and help manage stress in a more healthy way.   

Writing in a Journal will improve your mental clarity, can help you solve problems in your life and will improve your overall focus and goals.   Basically, it is a tool to clear our mental clutter.  By writing in a Journal, it gives the opportunity to transfer the problem from your head to the paper.  And it works!

So today I am excited to bring you “My Journal” with a powerhouse of my personal quotes to inspire you to make a difference in your world, give you focus and believe you are worth it.  For only AUD$14.00 you can share my passion and inspiration with a loved one, a friend or a gift just for yourself.  To preview “My Journal” or order a copy, please visit Blurb.

I do hope you or the receiver of this gift… enjoy “My Journal” and the inspiration it will bring.  I am so happy to be able to share my passion with you all and hope you all find that inner strength in your life and the happiness within… reigns upon you.

Take care, Karen.

My Journal

“Who you are

TOMORROW

begins with what you do

TODAY.”

~ Tim Fargo,

American Author & Keynote Speaker

Make a Difference Today

Have you ever wondered why do certain people come into our lives?  I believe everything happens for a reason and we are meant to meet some people to make a difference not only in our world but the bigger community as well.  One person can lift your spirits and give you hope and bring a smile.

Some people have the ability to boost a person up so effortlessly, their confidence and hope of things to come.  I love people like this in my life and I also get self-satisfaction from being able to make someone else feel good momentarily.  Our words and actions may not make a big difference in this world, but it can mean the world to just that one person.  It can lift the spirits of that person, encourage them to take that step, give them confidence to have a go and feel proud of their efforts.

With the stress of farming at the moment, the extra workload of feeding stock and the financial pressure, the need to lift spirits is more prominent.  The support of the Australian people and through the charities, we have all witnessed the uplifting this generosity has endowed.  Thank you does not reflect the overall feeling and the intensity that this kindness bears upon farmers.  As a farmer had been donated 10 bales of hay or a load of tank water or a bag of groceries …the emotions within are erupting.  It may be considered a band-aid solution and it will not pay that farmers bills or feed their stock for long.  But more importantly, it shows that others do care about farmers, care about their wellbeing and care about the future of Australian produce.

It doesn’t matter what line of work we are in or what walk of life we are from, everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their life.  It might only be a smile we give a stranger at the grocery store or an acknowledgement of their existence… it can make a big difference.  Everyone is going through something… life is not perfect.  We just need to boost each other up, instead of tearing each other down.  It is a win/win situation for all.

If we can all just help one person feel a sense of satisfaction or wellbeing, it will not only improve their life but also have a domino effect.  Be the reason that someone smiles today.  Make a difference!

Take care, Karen

“Hope gives us courage to do those things that we don’t believe we are capable of”

~ Noelle Pikus-Pace

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